tv American Journey FOX News December 25, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
all right, guys. three, two, one. >> merry christmas! ♪ welcome to a special hour of "an american journey." i'm jon scott. >> merry christmas and a very happy new year. i'm jenna lee. >> we're in brooklyn, new york, where more than 125 years al, laborers toiled for 14 years to build this bridge connecting brooklyn and manhattan. at least two dozen workers died in the effort. the bridge spans the east river, which played an important role in the american revolution. here a young general named george washington cross the over to manhattan and thwarted the british advantage.
without that historic crossing, our first war could have had a much different outcome, and our nation might not exist. >> just down the east river from here, you can see america's beacon of freedom to the rest of the world, the statue of liberty, and ellis island, the gateway to the american dream for so many immigrants. this hour, we're taking you on a journey through america's proud past, and some stories we've brought you this year. >> our journey begins at fort hancock, new jersey, a military installation that dates back to the revolutionary war. ♪ the jersey shore, 130 miles of fun in the sun, best known for its boardwalks, arcades, and amusement parks. but it's also home to one of the most important and effective military installations in u.s. history. fort hancock in sandy hook, new
jersey. >> the fascinating thing about this place is it's seen virtdly every armed conflict going back to the cold war. >> that's correct. the sandy hook light house, which sits behind us, was built in 1764. it's the oldest operating light house in the united states. >> the light house at sandy hook, lit almost continuously for 252 years, its flame extinguished only during world wars i and ii, to camouflage the fort on which it stands. throughout its long and unique history, this beacon stood fast against the ravages of time and enemy combatants. >> the light house itself had an interesting story during revolutionary war. it was actually defended by the british. the patriots were looking to take the light away. they did fire on it quite a few times and had no success. >> on june 19, 1776, colonial
forces fired two cannons on the light house. the officer who led that charge had to report back to his commander, a young general named george washington, that the walls were too firm to destroy. the cannon balls simply bounced off. this is barry potter. this is battery potter. >> site of the nation's first disappearing gun. huge artillery pieces hidden underground then lifted by steam power into firing position. >> i can see my breath in here. >> yep. it's like a wine cellar. >> it's wild. >> when they brought in the shells, they actually brought them in on carts, on rails, and this is actually a turntable for those rails. so they had a choice where they could go straight ahead here.
you can look and see where the grates are. that's where the chambers, where the steam chambers that the guns went up on. >> the cave-like vault housed and proved the weapons used to keep a young nation safe and growing. >> and what were the guns for? >> they were to defend new york harbor. you can see one of the old carts. >> yeah. >> right here. the wheels to the old carts. in order to carry those shells, they're over 900 pounds. >> and it could lob those things seven miles? despite their intricate design, these disappearing guns saw little to no combat. so they had these impressive guns that could lob shells way out there into new york harbor, and what happened? >> they became obsolete to a degree once the u-boat became the fashion during world war i for the germans.
at that point they decided to change strategy a little bit. they did continue to use guns, but not from this particular battery. but they also did it in concert with mine fields, and that went up into world war ii. >> fort hancock was integral to the protection of this nation but not in the traditional sense. >> we know about gettysburg. we know about valley forge. does this place fit into that same category? >> its significance is a little bit difference in regards to its not a battlefield. it's really a tribute to the country's ability to defend itself. the defenses here at sandy hook were built up in order to defend new york city. >> and because of this fort's strategic location, large-scale enemy attacks on new york city never materialized. from before the founding of the nation and the revolution war, new york city was vitally
important to a young america, and the job of defending it fell on the men and the military installations here at sandy hook. >> this is battery gunnison, two six-inch tubes. actually we have the remaining guns here. this is the one place on sandy hook where we actually do have the gun tubes. so this is a six-inch tube. >> this dates back to what? >> this dates back actually to the early 1900s. they changed them out, and this particular model is '40s, and they were used during world war ii. these two were used to supplement the mine fields out in the beginning of the harbor. >> tell me what this gun did. >> this gunshot six-inch shells. they were a couple hundred pounds, and you would open the breach on the bottom here that's covered up. they would put a bag in of gunpowder, and then they would ignite it, and it would shoot out. >> so throughout the history of
the nation really, any enemy vessel that threatened new york harbor could come under fire from this place right here? >> yes, indeed. >> but war strategies evolved as do the weapons that fight them. in the post-world war ii years, a new type of war took hold. sowing fear in the hearts of americans. >> first you duck, and then you'll cover. >> by the middle of the 1950s, cold war was raging. the fear that soviet bombers would cross the atlantic and drop their weaponry on new york city. so the army positioned these here at sandy hook, hercules missiles capable of fliefing to 60,000 feet and in some cases armed with nuclear warheads. >> you you anything thing is and you don't think about it, we're, you know, ten miles knotically from new york city. and ten miles from the heart of new york city, they're actually putting nuclear warheads on the top of missiles during the
middle of the cold war. it's kind of an intimidating think if you think about it. it's really, you know, of that time. >> from the american revolutionary war, the civil war, and world war i to world war ii, the cold war, and beyond, fort hancock at sandy hook, new jersey, is one of america's most important military sites. its protective beacon still standing watch over the land of the free. so no question that this place here has kept america safe, kept america growing? >> correct. honoring those men who have led our nation in battle has taken many unique forms, but one special place in rural virginia is a site few have seen. what drove one man to make a home for a larger than life tribute to past presidents? >> they wanted to crush them and just get them out of the park. and i just couldn't do it.
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1781, yorktown, virginia, a pivotal moment in the american revolutionary wall. general cornwallis surrendered to general george washington and ended the war. america was free. and just a short drive from this battlefield, we find a massive monument dedicated to honoring our past and those larger than life figures who led our nation.
this year as america debated who to vote for, one man has some unique inspiration right in his backyard. ♪ it may look like just any field somewhere in rural america, but down a muddy dirt road not far from the highway we find a group of familiar faces sitting silently on a family farm in virginia. 43 of them with one common thread. temporarily serving as leader of the free world. >> they wanted me to crush them and just get them out of the park, and i just couldn't do it. >> howard hankins saved them after a private presidential park went bust. turns out even presidents can't escape an economic downturn. so he moved them, each about 16,000 pounds of cement and steel, on to a flatbed truck and drove them down the interstate, painstakingly under power lines one by one and lined them all up to wait for a better home.
that was three years ago. >> when you're here by yourself, what do you think about? >> some days cleaning the weeds up and neatening the guys up and some days you'll mind will wander into history. and once again the sacrifices that these guys made. the decisions they had to make changed all our lives. >> ask not what america will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man. >> if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. mr. gorbachev, open this gate. >> the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. >> you know what i think about when i look at all these faces? you have 43 presidents out here. is that there's a lot of them i don't recognize. >> yeah. >> i feel terrible about that.
>> it's hard. >> luckily we found someone to help us unravel the past. historian doug weed. >> it's sort of irnteresting to look at abraham lincoln and look at the damage in the back of his head that was in transit, trying to get the statues here. >> this is all a metaphor for abraham lincoln. he was much more fragile politically than we think of today. >> why would he be comfortable amongst the weeds compared to the other presidents? >> he was very poor. when we look at lincoln in the lincoln memorial, it seems so imposing and powerful and strong. but he only lived four years of his life in the white house. he lived 14 years of his life in a one-room cabin in indiana. and when he looked in the mirror, that's who he saw. he slept in a wooden box filled with corn husbaks.
>> the think i hear time and time again is we're in an election season like no other in history because there's a character in the election that's like no other, and that's donald trump. but you say that might not actually be the case. >> andrew jackson was kind of a donald trump of hiss era. here comes this guy from the west. he's profane, uses bad language. he has a temper. he has bullets in his body from duels and battles that he's fought. he's against the national bank. he says it's all rigged, only he doesn't use that word. but he became the seventh president of the united states, and he took his revenge by appointing businessmen to most of the positions that normally would go to politicians. so it's an interesting time. >> how did that work out? >> it worked out quite well. there's good and bad about andrew jackson, but he was kind of a rock star in his time. history is very tricky.
it's hard to nail down what you think people are going to believe and accept, how historians will judge history many years later. >> out of all these men, george is your favorite? >> yep, george is my favorite for sure. >> why is that? >> the sacrifices the man made and the leadership he portrayed took a lot of courage. >> you think out of all these that george might be your favorite? >> if he's not my favorite -- >> it's hard for you to play favorites as historians, right? >> i'd say he's the best president in american history. >> really? >> because he walked away from power. that was the greatest gift he gave to america. to say, look, i have power, and i give it up to the people. and that became a great moral example, made on all his successors. >> howard hopes to build a new park someday. in the meantime, the group will await its next member, weathering the elements under
the weight of the wide-open american sky as one president moves peacefully from power to the history books and a new leader emerges. the spirit of st. louis takes to the skies again. how aviation buffs in upstate new york are making sure today's generation can experience the thrill of charles lindbergh's flight. >> the adventure which was to make the name of charles a. lindbergh one for the ages. his little monoplane soared from new york's roosevelt field to begin the first solo flight across the atlantic.
i was very independent and thought i could take care of myself. i fell and i had to have meals on wheels. i love them. they're my savior. and i look forward to the volunteers because they've all become my friends. my name is lola silvestri. america, let's do lunch. narrator: one in six seniors faces the threat of hunger, and millions more live in isolation. drop off a hot meal and say a quick hello. volunteer by donating your lunch break at americaletsdolunch.org.
the atlantic, some people thought he was crazy. well, after charles lindbergh actually succeeded, many considered his achievement a miracle. his spirit of st. louis is now on display at the smithsonian, but you can see a near perfect replica actually fly each summer weekend at the old rhine beck aerodrome in upstate new york. a tribute to the pilot and the flying machine he used to shrink our world. ♪ the roaring 20s. flappers with short skirts and bob haircuts symboliziing -- a time of rapid economic growth in the booming united states. on the ground, henry ford led the charge with his model t, the automobile for the common man was born as a revolutionary idea that quickly became a necessity.
and in the air, this age of limitless possibilities found its ambitions expressed by a handsome and confident airmail pilot. barely 23 years after the wright brothers flew 120 feet, charles lindbergh would attempt to fly across the atlantic alone. >> the adventure, which was to make the name of charles a. lindbergh one for the ages. >> the young pilot, who had only learned to fly less than five years earlier, launched his audacious attempt from roosevelt airfield in long island, new york, may 20th, 1927. >> the first solo flight across the atlantic. >> his spirit of st. louis took off at 7:52 a.m. eastern time into the unknown, a journey fraught with obstacles. >> he had everything planned out except for the sleep. >> ken cassens is a pilot at the old rhine beck aerodrome. a lifelong flying enthusiast who first piloted an aircraft at the age of 10, ken has carefully studied lindbergh's famous
flight. >> the weather was another factor. they kept postponing the flight because of bad weather. they were going to go to a play in new york city in the evening, and they checked the weather bureau, and they said it's clearing over the atlantic. so thhe then went back to the hotel and tried to get some sleep. >> embarked on a special project, conducting a replica of the spirit of st. louis. >> is a little intimidating to be replicating one of the most iconic planes in america? >> it was a challenge. there were no factory drawings at the time. the original airplane was built in 60 days. >> one of the most iconic aircraft in american history, and this one really flies. >> and actually the airplane flies a lot better than i had predicted or thought.
you hear all these stories about how unstable it was and everything like that, but all these old airplanes are unstable. i think the instability rumors got going because, you know, when you fly a cessna or piper or something, you trim it up on smooth weather and you can let it go without even touching the controls. all these airplanes here, you have to constantly fly the airplane, so they get the word out that they're unstable. but they're not dangerous or anything like that. >> may 21st, 1927. after 33 1/2 hours in the air and 3,600 miles, charles lindbergh reaches his destination, landing at lay bow jay field near paris, greeted by thousands of cheering fans. >> in a borrowed suit, he heard such acclaim as is accorded few men. >> the daring aviator fulfilled his dream and, in the process, collected the $25,000 prize offered to the first pilot who crossed the atlantic alone. the world rejoiced with him.
the world he had forever changed. lindbergh came home a hero to the largest ticker tape parade new york city ever saw, all celebrating the spirit of this daring young man and his spirit of st. louis. a spirit that still flies high every summer weekend at old rhine beck aerodrome. just before thanksgiving in november 1979, 66 americans are kidnapped in iran. we'll take a look back at the 444 terrifying days they were held hostage, memories of their release, and return 35 years ago from one of the men who endured that horrible captivity. plus american military history coming alive at a unique museum in the lone star state. >> most places when kids go to them, they tell them, don't touch this, don't touch that, don't run, don't talk. they're more like a mauz lee um
than a museum. it's the opposite here. we actually encourage the kids to touch stuff. we're trying to get kids to understand that, you know, what's important is the people and the way people defended what they have. they need to understand there was a cost to that. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on
headquarters, hello. i'm greg jarrett and merry christmas, everyone. authorities not ruling out terrorism as the cause of a russian military plane crash. all 92 people on board now confirmed dead after the plane crashed into the black sea. divers looking for victims and debris. among those on board, members of the red army choir en route from sochi for a christmas concert at a russian base in syria. pope francis delivering his christmas day blessing from the vatican. the pontiff speaking from the balcony of st. peter's basilica in front of 40,000 people. he's calling for peace across the world and comfort for everyone scarred by war. the pope also urging people to remember migrants and those hit by economic instability. i'm greg jarrett. i'll see you later on "the fox report." now back to "american journey." ♪
welcome back to "an american journey." no one's done more to make this country what it is than america's veterans. now their contributions are on vivid display in a place where visitors can quite literally touch our military past. ♪ about an hour outside dallas on a quiet country road in collin county, you'll find a most unusual museum. a treasure trove of american history. welcome to the military heritage collection of north texas, a place bursting at the seams with exhibits from the armed conflicts that have shaped america. and this being texas, it shouldn't surprise you the man who founded it has a bit of an accent. >> you're looking at 10% of the collection today.
>> a british accent. >> we're doubling every year, 18 months to a year. >> mark england served in the royal air force but after several visits to the states, fell in love with texas and decided to make it home. >> growing up in london, you start to appreciate big, quiet open spaces. that's what i really love. i said you can't find nicer people than in texas. the texans are just so friendly and open. >> mark opened the museum in 2008 to give ordinary people, especially children, a way to literally touch history. >> most places when kids go to them, they tell them, don't touch this. don't touch that. don't run. don't talk. they're more like a mausoleum than a museum. it's the opposite here. we actually encourage the kids to touch stuff. we want them to touch stuff. they need to connect with it. >> in less than a decade, it's turned into one of the most popular museums in this part of the country, all run by volunteers. although they've expanded several times, the collection is growing faster than the building.
>> you're not buying this stuff? >> no. >> people give it to you. >> yeah, they give it to us in trust. we'll look after it. >> everything on exhibit here is donated, including this. the uniform of an american patriot and hero, colonel leo thors nis, shot down over vietnam. he went on to receive the medal of honor. he's a frequent guest on fox and one of the finest men i know. it's a place where the dry pages of history books come alive in personal stories and artifacts, like the diary of a navy nurse who witnessed the attack on pearl harbor. and the incongrewities in a newspaper published hours after that attack. >> this newspaper was printed. they were expecting the japanese to return, to come back and invade hawaii. but they still printed the ads because the vacuum cleaners and everything else, and for some reason that struck me as kind of strange. >> a touch of normalcy in a time
of war. >> yeah. >> the flare gun is an interesting piece, manufactured in germany probably about 1944. almost certainly using slave labor in the factory. the irony is when we examined it, it's actually overstamped with the star of david, so it got sold to israel after the second world war. so it's built by jewish slave labors probably in a german factory and ended up in a survival kit of an israeli pilot. just strange how that whole circle -- how it completes the circle. >> from world war ii to korea and the cold war. >> we talk to the kids about the cold war, and i think they think the cold war is someone was left outside with the door open. they don't understand the significance of it and the long-term repercussions of what it meant to all of us, the way the world looks today. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. >> so you're teaching living history lessons here really.
>> yeah. that's exactly what we're doing. what's important is the people and the way people defended what they have, that they need to understand there was a cost to that. in this case here, they were captured at the end of the war. >> whose weapons were they? >> vietnamese probably supplied them on the hoe chi minute trail. >> but for the scores of children who visit the museum, the realities of what american g.i.s had to endure in that war are made credibly vivid. >> in the summer, for instance, we get the high school kids coming out, and we'll strap a combat loaded pack, give them a dummy ar-15 and say you want a free t-shirt, run to the gate. they normally get to the first carport and stop, and we can talk to them and say now you can
understand what it's like to be a 19-year-old kid in a paddy. you're sick and scared. now you can start to understand a little bit of what it's like to be a kid in that situation. that's the important thing is we try and get the kids to understand that these are normal people that do extraordinary things. >> keith self is the county judge. a veteran himself, he often stops by the museum. >> this is a hidden jewel in the county. the first time i walked in here, i was amazed at the quality of the artifacts that they have here. i mean veterans themselves have given them just world class artifacts. they're history. >> and you say that mark is a big part of the reason this museum succeeds. >> mark is the reason along with the volunteers. but the volunteers are here because of mark. he is so humble. he is so committed to this. his heart is so big. >> the yes, you can touch it idea even extends to the
museum's extensive collection of military vehicles, an offer i couldn't resist. a fully restored tank not just on display, but ready to roll. for these volunteers in this quiet corner of texas, it's their way to thank the men and women who have given so much, even their lives, to keep america the land of the free. >> it's really a privilege to be able to connect with these things and, you know, vicariously you're telling someone else's story. >> absolutely. >> humbling is the only word i can use because i just don't know how they did it. ♪ an emotional reunion and personal memories of 444 of the darkest days this nation has seen when 66 americans were taken hostage at our embassy in iran. this year, some of those americans returned to the united states military academy at west
point where they first tasted freedom after more than a year in captivity in a hostile nation. >> they had us all set to go the night before the inauguration. >> they told us pack up. you're ready to go. we're going to leave tonight, and there's no way you can sleep when the night that you're being told you're going to be released, and we got -- you know, the sun came up the next morning. we were still there.
each year, tens of millions of americans come together to experience one of the rituals of the nation, the super bowl, at the u.s. military academy at west point, some very special visitors returned to watch super bowl 50 back in february. we fwhu them 35 years ago as the iranian hostages, just released from 444 days' captivity in iran. west point was their first stop in america. to this day, some of those hostages and their families return to west point recalling their first steps of freedom after a harrowing experience. >> the year was 1979. ♪ my sharona >> this song topz the charts and stays their for six weeks. in march, the most serious accident ever to strike a u.s. nuclear plant focuses the nation's attention and fears on three-mile island. the plant they're harrisburg,
pennsylvania, where reactor number two had a partial meltdown. >> it was about the worst thing that could possibly happened. >> and horrified americans first learned of the killer clown, john wayne gacy. he was indicted for sexually assaulting and murdering men and boys over a ghastly six-year spree. and on november 4th, a mob of angry iranians described by their government as students overran the u.s. embassy in tehran, taking 66 americans hostage. for most, their captivity would stretch well over a year, frustrating the nation and forever changing u.s./iranian relations. >> our embassy has been seized, and more than 60 american citizens continue to be held as hostages in an attempt to force unacceptable demands on our country. >> after releasing women and african-americans, iran kept 52 men blindfolded, often tied up in freezing cells or dark
basements. threats of execution were common. >> the iranians were quite, if you will, diabolical about it. >> former foreign service officer don cook was one of the youngest. just 24 when the ordeal began, he remembers the horrors of captivity, the blindfolds, threats of execution, and a near total information blackout. the hostages had no idea that their nation was rallying behind them. no idea that a rescue attempt went horribly wrong in the desert. two aircraft collided in darkness, killing eight servicemen and an iranian civilian. the iranians claimed they'd release the hostages if the u.s. would return their former leader, the shah, to face iranian justice. but he died six months into the crisis. finally after more than a year in captivity, cook saw signs their freedom might be coming. but the iranians refused to tip their hand on who would be freed. >> they said we're going to release some of the hostages. we're going to do interviews,
and we're going to decide after the interviews who we're going to release and who we aren't going to release. >> cook and the other hostages didn't know it, but their ordeal figured prominently in the 1980 presidential election, which saw ronald reagan defeat jimmy carter. >> they had us all set to go the night before the inauguration. they told us, pack up. you're ready to go. we're going to leave tonight. and there's no way you can sleep when the night that you're being told you're going to be released. and so this evidently was a very conscious decision as a final slap to president carter to hold us until ronald reagan finished taking the oath of office. >> the constitution of the united states. >> so help you god. >> so help me god. >> just hours after president reagan's inaugural address and 444 days after their ordeal began, the 52 american heroes boarded algerian jets and headed home.
to help them decompress and adjust, president reagan wanted the newly freed hostages brought to the u.s. military academy at west point, a place mr. reagan held in high regard for its historical significance. >> the idea was to come to west point and have an opportunity outside of the real glare of the cameras to meet up with family members again. >> the hostages landed at stewart air national guard base in new york and rode buses for the short trip to west point. >> one of the things that the iranians would tell us was that this was a big deal in the united states, and we were, yeah, sure. nobody cared. you know, u.s. embassy overseas, nobody cares. >> in fact, they were under the impression they had been forgotten until that bus ride, where the impact their captivity and release had on the nation was on full patriotic display. >> americans standing at the side of the road with signs, come back, yellow ribbons,
waving, and just for the opportunity in january in this part of the country to come out and see the bus go by and wave to us. wow, that -- that made an impression. >> their arrival in america coincided with a great american spectacle, the super bowl. that year in new orleans, in a superdome bedecked with a giant yellow ribbon, the eagles took on the raiders in super bowl xv. settled comfortably in a hotel, most of the freed hostages watched the game with their families, except don, who had more pressing business. >> i arrived here finding out we were going to go straight from andrews air force base to the white house, and i had khakis and blue jeans. so i think i was out buying a suit when the super bowl was running. >> it must have been amazing just to be back breathing american air and eating american food. >> a marvelous hotel with a tremendous view of the river.
>> you credit ronald reagan with your release? >> oh, absolutely. yeah. there was never any doubt. >> but just six weeks later, the former hostages saw the president cut down. [ gunshots ] >> nearly killed by the bullets of a mentally disturbed john hinckley jr. a nation that been basking in the glow of the hostages' release now was forced to contemplate the never murder of the man who had helped make their freedom a reality. >> the president of the united states. >> reagan, of course, recovered and went to west point himself just two months later to speak to the graduating class of 1981. >> nancy and i consider it a great pleasure to be here today to congratulate you who have successfully completed your education and training at the united states military academy. >> don cook returned to the state department, spending the rest of his career there try tock spread the american ideal of freedom around the world. freedom stolen for him for those
444 days. he still proudly wears the state department's valor medal, awarded for his courage as a hostage. and he still goes back to west point to speak to its cadets. >> and we could sit in fresh air for an hour. >> and reunite with other former hostages and their families at the thayer hotel. they gathered there for super bowl 50, and this time, 35 years later, don cook got to see the game. a painstaking renovation under way at one of the oldest churches in the nation. and in the spirit of determination first displayed by our forefathers, the parishioners of old st. patrick's cathedral have come up with a unique way to raise funds. family road trip! fun! check engine. not fun! but, you've got hum. that's like driving with this guy.
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determination and finding new solutions to problems is the american way. one of the oldest and most iconic churches in the nation is falling into disrepair. in the spirit of that determination, old st. patrick's cathedral has come up with a very unique way to raise some cash. deep in the catacombs beneath new york city. >> ideas have endurance without depth. >> a big idea, a wish and a prayer played a major role in a project not far from the hustle and bustle of america's largest city. down a quiet side street lies hayden national treasure. the basilica at st. patrick's old cathedral, one of the oldest churches in the nation. the church is historical and in need.
painstaking renovations are happening outside the church in a cemetery protected by an original wall that dates back to 1836, a time when parishioners themselves often had to defend their church in the infamous five points slum of new york city. >> who holds sway over the five points? us natives born right wise to this fine land, or the foreign hoards defiling it? >> you had men with muskets with holes through the wall protecting this church from nativists. >> why did they have to protect the church? >> because they were burning down catholic churches. >> inside, another notable national treasure. >> michael, do you believe in god, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth? >> i do. >> overlooking the spot of that memorable baptism scene in "the godfather" is the only pipe organ of its kind in the country. ♪ put in place just after the civil war, the organ needs to be
taken apart piece by piece and repaired. ♪ >> wanted to earmark money for the restoration of the organ. ♪ and also develop programs around that organ. >> to restore the historic site, the church needs money and is offering a unique opportunity to the public to own a piece of history forever. ♪ beneath the church lies catacombs, a series of crypts with fascinating stories. tell us about this name. >> the vault, the gentleman, charles o'connor, was a presidential candidate. >> if you were to open this door -- and we're not going do that because it's not appropriate -- but if we were to open this door, what would we see? >> well, it's interesting. if you were to open this door and if you had the key, which we don't even have the key -- >> you don't have the key at all? >> no. >> no one can hope -- can open it? >> no one knows where the key is. these are elaborate vaults.
what happens is if you were to open this door, there would be stairs that would go back, and you could have up to 18 people in here, 18 different caskets. >> of let's walk up here and look at who else is down here. who is john kelly? >> honest john kelly was the city sheriff. he was also a member of the house of representatives. >> this is a really interesting name. someone that maybe not everyone knows but is a very important person to our history. >> yes. general thomas eckert was a confidante of abraham lincoln. as a matter of fact, lincoln drafted part of the emancipation proclamation in this guy's office. >> and amongst this company, there's room for one more family. a $7 million donation secures your own private resting place. this is the location of the family crypt. and the dimensions are still being worked out. we have a pretty good idea of what it's going to look like. >> it will probably have wrought
iron or brass rails and a brass door. then you would open it, and there would be six areas for full-body burials. then you would have perhaps two banks where future generations could be buried. >> tell us about the price. how did you arrive at $7 million? >> well, $7 million was just a wish/prayer number. of course, we would entertain any reasonable offer. >> really? so it's open for negotiation? >> well, we would -- you know, we would -- >> just wondering how much possibility are you talking about, frank? >> how much would you pay for -- >> that's a good question. how much will people pay for it? that's the number you put out there? >> we came up with that number because we have a number of things that we need to do. if you really think about it, if you were to amateurize it, it's going to be pretty considerably a low payment -- >> a low payment? >> sure. you figure you're going to be
dead for eternity. >> nice, frank. >> if you took that amount and kind of put it over 10,000 years, whatever -- >> okay, fair point. >> but what they're getting is they're getting to rest in peace in arguably one of the most historical catholic spots in new york city. >> the church is still waiting its $7 million offer, but it says some niches in the wall where cremated ashes are housed have been sold for around $10,000. we are dealing where there are people that are in eternal rest, if you will. have you ever been down here at night by yourself and ever feel like, you know, you weren't alone? >> absolutely not. i would not come down here. >> ingenuity, determination, and dedication. lessons learned from our forefathers and still put to practical use today. back with more in a moment. when you've been making delicious natural cheese
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from the bloody battles of our revolutionary war to the wars being fought now, this nation owes its existence to the courage and determination of the original american heroes, our forefathers who built this country. from the shores of the east river under the iconic brooklyn bridge, i'm jon scott. >> i'm jenna lee. thank you for joining us.